Chuseok, baseball, sticky rice cakes! Why Autumn is Awesome in Korea! (Language Vine)

A version of this blog can be found on Language Vine

Chuseok, baseball, sticky rice cakes! Why Autumn is Awesome in Korea!

The Korean people are very proud of the four distinct seasons their country has to offer. Of those four, fall is by far my favorite. Say goodbye to the hot, sticky and rainy summer jangma. Say hello to cooler temperatures with dry air and low humidity.

At home, for me autumn means the American football and basketball seasons, changing leaves, rain, turkey and pumpkin pie. While Korea may have some of those elements, the fall season here is a unique experience unto itself.

Here are my top things to do during autumn in Korea.

1. Celebrate Chuseok (추석), known as the Korean Thanksgiving. Although the traffic is horrendous, time off is always a good excuse to check out new destinations within Korea. If you’re feeling adventurous, go international with quick trips to close by Beijing, Tokyo or Taipei. Even if you decide to stay put, it’s a great opportunity to accomplish things at home. Lines at most attractions are non-existent and many admissions are discounted because everyone is spending time with their families.

2. Witness the changing of the leaves. A little internet research will reveal when the leaves turn at various locations on the peninsula. Find the perfect place to catch it in your city or plan a quick weekend trip to one of the many forested, mountainous regions in Korea.

3. Track down a local Kimjang (김장). Many people believe the best kimchi (김 치) is made in the late fall or early winter. Kimjang is an event that typically takes place in mid-November where kimchi is made for the coldest months of the year. In addition to the traditional family events taking place within their homes, last year I saw several public displays. I even got to try some of the fresh kimchi, before it was placed underground to marinate, while event organizers snapped pictures.

4. Attend a Korean Baseball League playoff game. Korean baseball is a unique experience, much different than that of a game at home. No peanuts and cracker jacks or hot dogs here. Instead, do what the locals do by consuming copious amounts of squid and fried chicken. And of course, the beer still flows freely. Get ready for loud, sing along chanting, whistles, thundersticks and cheerleaders. Just make sure you arrive early for a ticket. The biggest stadiums only hold around 33,000 and are sure to sell out for the playoffs.

When is the game?

Gyung-gee uhn-jeh hahm-nee-kkah (경기 언제 합니까?)

Where is the stadium?

Gyuhng-gee-jahng uh-dee eet-ssum-nee-kkah (경기장 어디 있습니까?)

5. Enjoy seasonal freshly harvested fruits and vegetables like apples and pears; don’t forget to try songpyeon (송편), the traditional sweet snack made up sticky rice cake stuffed with chestnuts, brown sugar and sesame seeds that’s prepared around Chuseok.

6. Take advantage of the new weather by getting out for a trek. If you live in Seoul, go for a walk down Cheongyecheon (청계천) stream or hit the trails of one of the many mountains in areas such as Inwangsan (인왕산), Bukhansan (북한산 )or Dobongsan (도봉산).

How far is it to the mountain?

Sahn- Kkah-jee uhl-mah-nah muhm-nee-kkah (산까지 얼마나 멉니까?)

Show me on the map please?

Jee-doh-eh-suh boh-yuh-joo-seep-ssee-yo (지도에서 보여주십시오)

7. Buy holiday gifts for friends and family back home. If you travel to Seoul, you will find similar gifts and souvenirs in well known areas like Insadong (인사동) and Itaewon (이태원). But I recommend checking out the Hongdae (홍대) Free Market on a Saturday. The products are more unique, hand crafted, less souvenir inspired and more artistic.

Can you help me?

Doh-wah-joo-see-geht-ssum-nee-kkah (도와 주시겠습니까?)

Do you have…?

…eet-ssum-nee-kkah (— 있습니까?)

Whatever you do, make sure to take advantage of all that the Korean fall offers before the bitter cold of winter sets in. All you will want to do is cuddle up on the couch, watch movies and eat hot jiggaes (찌게).

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on October 14, 2010.

One Response to “Chuseok, baseball, sticky rice cakes! Why Autumn is Awesome in Korea! (Language Vine)”

  1. Hello friend,
    To know another sticky rice product, please visit my blog

    http://mystickyricecrackers.blogspot.com/

    Thank you.

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